Tales from my library

30 Jun

Don’t get me wrong, I love my e-reader (I use the Kindle Fire). I like the fact that you can carry an enormous library with you that you can access at your convenience and the fact that you can download many books in the public domain for free. I also like the way you can adjust text size, making it possible to read on the treadmill.

But, I remain attached to the physical book. Physical books have features that e-books have not been able to duplicate. They are easier to skim and navigate. E-books still lack an effective means of making marginal notes. Beyond this, each physical book has a history that links you to previous readers.

A couple of years ago, at the Chautauqua Women’s Club flea market, I picked up a copy of Hermann Hesse’s  Siddhartha. I am not sure what possessed me to look at it, after all, I already owned both a physical copy and an e-book version.


When I flipped through it a small Polaroid photo fell out of its pages. It was photo of a man (a previous owner, perhaps) smoking a joint.


To protect his privacy I won’t display his photo on the Internet. But, once I saw it I knew I had to own it. The book had a history.  One that I found irresistible and now book and photo sit on my bookshelf in Chautauqua.

I know that Hesse is one of those authors whose work your supposed to outgrow. But I continue to admire him. I am especially moved by Journey to the East, a book I find profound and deeply affecting.



6 Responses to “Tales from my library”

  1. fromthecurve July 1, 2013 at 2:05 pm #

    Despite being a confirmed bibliophile, I too own and occasionally use an e-book reader. Finding bedbugs in a book I had borrowed drove me to the purchase. I am pleased to be able to read in low light conditions and to carry a week’s worth of reading with ease. Sadly, electronic pages leave me pining for the delicious smell of ink on paper and the frequency with which one needs to turn a “page” is decidedly tedious. Small consolation: I’ve found that after finishing an ebook my enjoyment of print is greater than usual, making the extra cost more palatable!

  2. ileneonwords July 2, 2013 at 12:23 pm #

    This is the Siddhartha book that I read at about 12, same cover, hard to find these days. I did a birthday posting for Hermann Hesse this morning, stop by and visit!

  3. General Reader August 6, 2013 at 10:59 pm #

    Nice story. I haven’t got an e-reader yet. I’m still too attached to my old Hermann Hesse paperbacks. I’ll be posting reviews of a couple of them on my blog soon.

    • jecgenovese August 6, 2013 at 11:32 pm #

      Great! I’ll look forward to reading your reviews of Hesse.

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